Her mother gave her that name? The madwoman? The one that, she now hears, cursed at her sister and disowned her? Seven cycles of Nymphadora's life. Has some R/T at the end.
Nymphadora Tonks loves her mother.
Mummy is tall, and beautiful. She has the most long, silky hair that she's ever seen in her scant five years; waist-length, a warm, shimmering gold that flashes in the wind. Nymphadora's mum has pretty, soft grey eyes and a mouth that always smiles.
Though itty-bitty Nymphadora wonders why she looks so sad sometimes. But then mummy smiles wider, and lets her run spindly five year-old fingers through her golden hair, laughing when daddy tells Nymphadora about a very odd lady named Rapunzel who spent a lot of time being bored in an ivory tower, before a prince in shining armour came to rescue her.
Nymphadora rather thinks Rapunzel is stupid for waiting so long, and says as much. Daddy smiles, but mummy smiles her special smile- a smile just for her little Nymphadora- and Nymphadora claps her hands together in delight before tangling her hands in the flaxen strands of mummy's hair.
She wishes desperately for hair as soft and delightful as mummy's, wishes so hard, and screws her face up and prays and prays.
And suddenly, she is a cloud of dusty blonde locks, straight as an arrow and flowing. Nymphadora smiles and jumps around, and mother's smile grows in pride and love.
Nymphadora wishes she could catch mummy's smile in her hands and keep it in the locket Uncle Sirius gave her.
Nymphadora Tonks doesn't understand her mother.
Mummy is weeping, and seven year-old Dora doesn't know what to do. She's not sure why mummy is crying so hard, and why daddy is in shock.
She sits in her room, and looks at a picture on the wall of her Uncle Sirius, whom mummy says is actually her cousin, but she calls him Uncle all the same. Uncle Sirius told her about a magical place called Hogwarts, and showed her different faces she could make with her Met-Meta- Metafunphor- whatever it's called, she can't quite pronounce-it powers. Uncle Sirius is loads and loads of fun, when she sees him.
She gets up and totters downstairs, missing a step and falling tea-cups over teakettle down the stairs.
"Nymphadora!" shouts daddy, but mother stands up, smooth as ice and twice as cold. She glides over to a bruised Nymphadora.
"So clumsy," she says neutrally, but little Dora doesn't quite understand, and her bright eyes tear up at the look of angriness on mummy's face.
"Mum-mummy?" cries out Nymphadora. Mother stares down at her.
"Nymphadora Bellatrix Tonks," she starts slowly, and Dora knows she's in for it now.
"That's enough," breaks in daddy, and Dora stares. Daddy never interrupts mummy.
"Dora, love," he says gently, "go up to your room. Go on, baby, I'll be up shortly."
"I want Sirius!" she declares, because Sirius makes life better. And he gets her out of trouble.
For a moment, for a wonder, Dora sees something ancient, tired, and ugly cross the face of her beloved mummy, but then it's gone, and Dora's sure she imagined it.
"Sirius isn't coming back, honey," says daddy. Dora looks at her mother, and that shadow flits by again, and mummy's eyes are stormy now, angry and squalid.
Dora runs to her room, and doesn't know why mummy is so mad at her.
She doesn't hear her mother burst into tears.
Nymphadora Tonks resents her mother.
Nymphadora. Nymphadora. What the hell was she thinking? Nymphadora Bellatrix? She could just hex her mother. She really could.
She sighs. Nymphadora Bellatrix. Tonks. How strangely mundane, the last part.
Nymphadora Tonks has just completed her first day of school, lovingly shuffled into Ravenclaw and is enjoying life. Or rather would be enjoying it, if people would stop making fun of her name.
The funny thing is the looks she gets from some of the Slytherin students, looks of disgust. And it bothers her- because some of the Gryffindor students give her the same look.
She's confused, but she's somehow sure this is all mum's fault. First the stupid name, and now this. It's like everyone knows her, but Black [how can she call a murderer Uncle?] always said that Ted was a nobody in school; her father was quite, and studious, a Ravenclaw just like her.
She walks around school, and she hears the words daughter of a traitor and cousin of a murderer, and she wants to cry, because it's not her fault she's related to her Unc- to Black, and what did dad ever do to betray someone? How does anyone here even remember him?
Then she learns the truth, learns it by snooping about, just like Uncle Sir- how Black used to do when he was a student here. She sits behind a silent bust of some barmy old wizard, and waits.
Andromeda Tonks was once Andromeda Black, reigning Queen of Slytherin [mum was a snake?]. She had power, prestige, strong blood-lines, everything a girl could want.
Now she had a klutz for a daughter, and a quiet, humble husband who worshiped the ground she walked on, but argued with more often than not.
And then- then!- she hears about another woman. Insane and blood-thirsty. In Azkaban. Nymphadora Tonks shudders, wondering what kind of woman this must be.
Bella, they call her, short for Bellatrix. Andromeda's darkly beautiful sister, lithe and strong.
Her mother gave her that name? The madwoman? The one that, she now hears, cursed at her sister and disowned her?
She has her name?
What the hell was she thinking?
Nymphadora Tonks hates her mother.
Tonks stomps through Hogwarts, shaking snow out of her currently green hair and cursing her mother under her breath.
She despises the woman.
Five years of Hogwarts, five years of hell. Five years of having to defend herself, defend Black, defend her roots.
In her darkest hours, she hates her mother for marrying her father.
She could have been privileged. She could have lived in the lap of luxury. Instead, Tonks was relegated to life as a half-blood because her mother loved a Muggle-born, and had cursed her own daughter to a life of being insulted. Her bloodline connected Tonks to Black, the murderer. To Black, the betrayer. To Lestrange, the maniac. She had a family line as twisted and bitter as a graveyard tree.
When she comes to, Tonks hates her mother for damning her own beloved father to the existence he has lived. Always wanting more more more from a man of very humble origins. Oh, Andromeda rarely asks, but you can see it in her eyes when she sees a pretty bauble on the telly. She traces a fine finger around her neck, as if remembering some jeweled present from an era she chose to leave behind.
But most of all, Tonks hates her mother for leaving her in this predicament, for naming her after a madwoman and letting her suffer alone at Hogwarts. She hates her mother for choosing a Muggle-born and living in a state of lower middle-class. She hates Andromeda for giving birth to her. She hates her for treating her the way she does.
She hates her because Tonks never got the chance to decide for herself. She was an outcast at birth.
Tonks uses her powers now to change her face, to change the face of Black. She erases the finely-boned features, the dark eyes, and turns herself into something that doesn't resemble herself.
And she hates her mother, above all, because she can't understand why the hell she'd give up such a great life for simple, meek Ted Tonks.
Nymphadora Tonks respects her mother.
She's about to graduate, and she gets a box from her mother. Tonks has made her peace, matured a little, but she still doesn't talk to mother much. But she opens the box, thinking it might be, perhaps, money or new quills.
Instead, it's a picture. A photograph. Of three girls. Two fair-haired, one dark-haired, all with the same clear eyes.
Andromeda. Narcissa. Bellatrix. Three sisters.
In the box is a sheaf of letters. She takes them out, unfolds them.
Letters between sisters.
First, there are promises of faithfulness, of childhood mischievousness. Dreams that cannot be uttered are instead written in painstaking, childish letters, blocky but carefully written.
Then there are letters of young teens. Dates and balls and gorgeous dresses, but some are different. Some, in the now-graceful lilt of Andromeda Black, talks of politics and subtleties and a thousand shades of grey that she has found between the deepness of the family Black and the purity of Albus Dumbledore.
She sees her mother taking her first uneasy steps to the truth, a world where things are quietly coloured and shown differently than the black and white world their parents have given her.
Then their are letters of damnation, speaking of hellfire and sulphur. /I hate you/, one says, for dishonouring me.
And one letter from Narcissa, telling a Mrs Tonks that Bellatrix has joined the Death Eaters.
Tonks cries, because she feels the anger pouring from that letter. The accusation that whispers that Bellatrix would not have done this had Andromeda not spoiled the family's good name.
And the last one comes full circle. A childish letter from 'Bella' to 'Dea', one that asks her that, if Dea ever has any children, she will give her Bella's name.
Tonks isn't so ashamed anymore, of her middle name. Her mother kept a promise, one that most would never keep, and gave Tonks the name Bellatrix.
The letter is signed, "Lots of Love, Your Bella."
Tonks sits down and writes a note to her mother, and signs it "Love, your Dora."
She can live with Bellatrix haunting her life, now.
Although she still thinks Nymphadora is a stupid, stupid name.
Nymphadora Tonks understands her mother.
She's been begging, and pleading, and now the man she loves is hers. Remus Lupin has finally caved in, admitted his feelings openly.
They're holding hands and walking through Diagon Alley, laughing and joking and occasionally kissing.
She sees the stares, hears the whispers, although she doesn't openly acknowledge them. Everyone knows Remus is a werewolf. Everyone knows what he becomes once a month.
And it makes her angry that no one, although they know, respects the fact that Remus fought in the Department of Mysteries, against the very people that made the common folk tremble in fear. They know he defended Hogwarts, would defend Hogwarts, until his last breath.
And those who went to school with him know that Remus is kind, and gentle.
So it makes her just a wee bit mad to see the cruel stares and hear the inconsiderate words.
And, she knows her mother went through this.
She went through the stares, the unbelieving gasps that accompany a lady of Slytherin being escorted by a Ravenclaw of the vilest blood. An elite princess who kissed a dirty human in front of the world.
A Goddess who gave birth to a half-blooded child.
Tonks folds her hands more tightly around Remus' and kisses his cheeks, snickers at the stares, and walks with pride. To her credit, she doesn't even trip once.
As they make their way to a pub, and Remus insists on paying [though they both know he can't really afford it], Tonks sees something in the back of her mind.
She sees a beautiful blonde girl, almost a Veela, and a mousy-haired young man, thick-fingered and clumsy, sharing a mug of butterbeer and smiling shyly at one another. And she sees the wonder of falling in love, the sheer joy of finding that other person.
And now she knows why her mother gave up a life of prestige to be with nerdy, bumbling, slightly shorter than average Ted Tonks.
"What will you name them?"
Tonks smiles as she collapses in a chair, tired as all hell. Giving birth to one child was bad enough, but three? She sighs. She looks over at Remus, who is passed out on the floor. The Healers are attempting to revive him, but Tonks figures that watching someone pop out three children is almost as life-harrowing as giving birth to three.
Andromeda is standing over three bassinets, looking at three very different children. One has Andromeda's fine blonde locks; another shows a thatch of thick brown fuzz, much like Ted's and Remus'. The third has blindingly shiny black hair, slick as oil.
"Nancy, Nicole, and Natalie," murmurs Tonks quietly as she dozes, wanting to hold her children, but afraid that in her tiredness, she will drop them.
"They're so beautiful," whispers Andromeda, touching each one on the nose and laughing as they all burble happily at their new grandmother.
"Must've got their looks from their granny," mutters Tonks in jestful exasperation. Andromeda laughs, and suddenly Tonks is Dora, and she's five, and her mother is letting her run sticky fingers through her lovely blonde hair.
"Such.. normal names," says her mother casually, and Tonks rolls her eyes.
"After a life time of Neemph-ay-do-ree-ah, I think I want to spare my children the pain," she jokes, winking at her mother. Andromeda rolls her eyes, but laughs again, high and tinkling and full of life.
"What are their middle names?" she asks.
Tonks gets up and wobbily makes her way over, putting a hand on her mother for support. Andromeda covers Tonks' with her own.
"Nicole," she says, pointing to the blonde one, "is Nicole Narcissa. Natalie is Natalie Bellatrix. And Nancy," she says, smiling slightly, "is Nancy Andromeda."
Her mother looks at her, teary-eyed. "Why?" she questions.
Tonks shrugs, not really sure how to respond.
"It just seemed fitting, you know? Three sisters," she answers.
Andromeda looks down at her grandchildren again, and smiles widely, so widely that wrinkles appear on her still-ageless face.
"Welcome to the world, my darlings," whispers Andromeda with reverence. "You have a wonderful mummy."
Tonks smiles, and knows that the only reason why is because she had such a wonderful mother herself.
Nymphadora Lupin loves her mother.